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Cecelia Traugh, Dean, School of Education

Cecelia Traugh

Dean, School of EducationProfessor of Teaching and LearningDirector, Center for Urban Educators

B.A., M.A., University of California at RiversidePh.D., University of California at Berkeley


Cecelia Traugh is dean of the School of Education and the director of its Center for Urban Educators (CUE). Throughout her career, she has combined her roles as a teacher, administrator and researcher in pursuit of the kind of education that grows out of a valuing of the capacities of children, parents and teachers. Dr. Traugh has worked collaboratively with parents, teachers and administrators to make classrooms and schools more supportive of children's and teachers' growth, thinking and learning.

Some of her areas of concentration are descriptive school-based inquiry, curriculum development and evaluation, including qualitative evaluation and the preparation of teachers for urban schools. Dr. Traugh’s current work in schools includes school-wide inquiry groups in small schools across Manhattan and Brooklyn. These inquiry groups use the Descriptive Processes developed at the Prospect Center in North Bennington, Vt., to investigate issues important to the inclusive education of all children and to the ongoing development of the schools themselves.

Dr. Traugh began her career in education teaching history in a southern California high school. While earning a Ph.D. from the University of California (1972), she taught in the Yolo County Juvenile Hall in Woodland, Calif. Her first university position was as an assistant professor at Wichita State University, Kan., where she directed the Multi-Institutional Teacher Education Center, a statewide program offering an urban experience to potential teachers.

In 1979, Dr. Traugh became the associate dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Dakota. Working with Dean Vito Perrone, she became a member of the North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation and participated in programs that educated Native American teachers for reservation schools and in statewide studies of high schools and of adolescent work.

In 1986, Dr. Traugh became director of the Middle School, Friends Select School, in Philadelphia, Pa. During the seven years she held this position, she taught seventh-grade English, eighth-grade humanities and a yearlong course for sixth graders in the observation and description of a tree. In addition, Dr. Traugh also taught graduate courses in research methodology at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1993, she became the director of research and evaluation at the Institute for Literacy Studies at Lehman College at the City University of New York. There she began her school-based inquiry groups in schools in Manhattan and the Bronx, developed anInstitute-wide inquiry into the work of professional development and supported the writing of a monograph series about the work of teachers teaching teachers in New York City schools.

Dr. Traugh joined the faculty of the School of Education at the Brooklyn Campus in Fall 2000. She came as an associate dean and worked with the faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning to revitalize their teacher education programs. Dr. Traugh became the dean of the School in 2006.


Descriptive Inquiry; Classroom-Based Inquiry


  • Co-author, “Transforming Problems into Possibilities: Seeing What’s There Rather Than What’s Not,” published in Scholarly Partnerships Edu (2008)
  • Co-author, “Descriptive inquiry: A contemplative approach to classroom-based research,” published in Teachers College Record (2006)
  • Author, “Trusting the Possibilities: Giving Voice to Vito’s Ideas,” to be published in Teaching & Learning: The Journal of Natural Inquiry and Reflective Practice.
  • Co-author, “Transforming one teacher education program through inquiry, difference and field experience,” published in “Portraits of Teacher Preparation: Learning to Teach in a Changing America” (2005)
  • Author, “Finding the Color of the Sky: Inquiry in Teacher Preparation,” published in “Defending Public Schools,” (2004)
  • Co-author, “Using descriptive inquiry to transform the education of linguistically diverse U.S. teachers and students,” published in “Opportunities and Challenges of (Societal) Bilingualism”
  • Author, “Learning How to Talk (and Work) Across Difference,” published in Educators for Urban Minorities (2002)
  • Author, “Remarks for the Opening of the Center for Urban Educators, published in Educators for Urban Minorities (2002)
  • Author, “Inquiry as a Mode of Renewal: Imagining the Possibilities of Circumstance,” published in CUE Point of View (2002)
  • Editor, “Collaborative Conversations for Literacy: Professional Development in a Middle-School Classroom,” published as part of the Institute for Literacy Studies’ Occasional Paper Series (2000)
  • Editor, “Keeping the Possibilities Present: A Study of One Child’s Math Thinking by Linda Dolinko,” published as part of the Institute for Literacy Studies’ Occasional Paper Series (2000)
  • Editor, “The Power of Mathematics: Stories of Change from Urban Classrooms” (2000)
  • Author, “Whole-School Inquiry: Values and Practice,” published in “From Another Angle: Children’s Strengths and School Standards” (1999)
  • Author, “The Work of Professional Development in Informal Education Programs,” a report describing the work of the Youth Practitioners Institute, available from the Institute for Literacy Studies (1996)
  • Author, “Connecting Standards Back to Their Human Source,” published in the New York City Writing Project Newsletter (1995)
  • Author, “Exploring Values and Standards: Implications for Assessment,” published in the National Center for the Restructuring of Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST) Monograph (1992)
  • Author, “Writing Report Cards,” published in Pathways (1991)
  • Co-author, “Three Values: The Ways One School Works to Educate the Whole Child,” published in Networking (1991)
  • Author, “Creating Knowledge in a School Setting: A Story,” published in the Proceedings of the Progressive Education Conference (1989)
  • Author, “Speaking Out: Teachers on Teaching,” published in the North Dakota Study Group Monograph (1986)
  • Author, “Computers: A Reflection,” published in “Humanistic Perspectives on Computers in the Schools” (1985)
  • Author, “Prairie View High School,” published in “Portraits of High Schools” (1985)
  • Author, “Rural High Schools: Heart of Education in North Dakota,” published in the North Dakota Journal of Education (1984)
  • Co-author, “A Descriptive Study of Pre-Service Teachers’ Attitudes Toward and Aptitude in Mathematics,” published in the College Student Journal (1981)
  • Co-author, “Student Employment: Implications for Teachers and Schools,” published in Teacher Training Perspectives (1980)
  • Author, “Secondary Students’ Attitudes Toward and Experience with Evaluating Teachers,” published in The High School Journal (1980)
  • Co-author, “Multi-Cultural Education: A Conceptual Approach, published in Educational Leadership (1979)
  • Author, “Study/Discussion of the Effect the Emphasis on Inquiry Methodology Has Had on the Attitudes and Teaching Behavior of Junior and Senior High School Social Studies Teachers,” published in The Social Studies (1978)
  • Author, “Some Thinking Skills Defined in Historiographical Terms,” published in The Clearing House (1977)
  • Author, “The American Parade: The 34th Star, a media review, published in The History Teacher (1977)
  • Co-author, “The Confrontation Meeting: A Model for Identifying First Year Junior High School Teachers’ Problems,” published in The Clearing House (1976)
  • Author, “The Living Bicentennial Series: ‘The Living Jefferson’ and ‘The Living Documents,’ a media review,” published in The History Teacher (1976)
  • Author, “To Lead a Nation and For All the People, a media review,” published in The History Teacher (1975)
  • Author, “Evaluating Inquiry Procedures,” published in The Social Studies (1974)


  • Breitwieser Award, Scholarship and Service (University of North Dakota)
  • Danforth Teaching Fellow

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Prospect Center, North Bennington, Vt. (1986-2001)
  • President, Board of Trustees (1991-2000)
  • Member, North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation (since 1980)
  • Member, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
  • Member, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)